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Friday, June 29, 2012

Wait, WHAT?! Rafa's Out!?!


OH. EM. GEE. 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4

Rafa Nadal loses to who? Wait, What?! We don't even know this kid!

Lukas Rosol? Oh damn. I guess we know him now.

Sheeesh!!

Wimbledon 2012

Obamacare: A Kinda-Sorta Win ... For Now


It is done. The Supreme Court has voted to uphold Obamacare.

*Sigh*

On the upside, the American people will have their own say in November. The staffers in the Obama administration should be working feverishly on their resumes.

As for Obamacare itself? I say, it ain't over til it's over.

That's my truth on the matter for now.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Being Black In The Time Of Obama

So in my last post I talked about the unexpected end of a friendship resulting from the current political climate of our country.

Losing Daisy

I wrote about my fading friendship with Daisy not just because it saddens me to lose her, but also to document my own experience with the impact of racial tension on America. When I saw where the writing was leading, I realized the post would be too long. An unexpected caviat was the discussion it prompted in the comments section. I needed the feedback before I could continue. So thank YOU readers!

Just to clarify, Daisy and I have never spent our friend-time talking politics. Some friendships are built for that, ours was not. Talk of Barack Obama only came up because back in 2008 that campaign and its results were a very big deal. In the weeks and months that followed we steered intentionally clear of the topic of our first black president.

Roughly a year after he won, Daisy and I had a strained discussion giving business opportunities to people we knew versus strangers from the yellow pages. You know? Like plumbers, electrician, carpenters etc. When one of us said something displeasing, the other of us grew quiet. *sigh* Next came sporadic chats, obligatory birthday calls, and you know the rest.

At the end of that post I mentioned, Daisy has never liked white people. Why mention it? Because it's important.

Obama Touched A Nerve

As much as I dislike Barack Obama, I am thankful that he brought our country to this place in time on the issue of race. He pushed every button and made us spit out so much of what we've been thinking and not saying about race. I'm not talking about the left-leaning, propagandist drivel that's been funneled to us by all media over the last five decades. I'm talking about honest dialogue.

You know that saying, "everything comes out in the wash" (or something like that)?

I believe that's how life is. What we think we're hiding eventually will be revealed. While some voters saw Barack Obama for the man he was or wasn't immediately, it took others longer. And who he turned out to be is the story of all our lives:  person of different race veiling a secret of malcontent, its ripple effect will touch us unexpectedly (9-11 comes to mind).

We each belong to varying groups. Which group do you identify with first? It might depend on the time and place, right? Wife, father, brother, daughter, employee, boss, etc.  Whichever group I choose, in my mind it's always linked to being an American. Most of us would like to think our countrymen see themselves this way too. If I'm trapped on a hijacked plane I'd like to think "Let's roll!" means all of us. How about you?

A Handbook On American Life, Maybe

Years ago, when our society was forming, there weren't handbooks on how we should behave. We had to figure our lives out. There've been laws and addendums. We've evolved and continue to do so. But there wasn't a contingency for so many of us (Americans) becoming developmentally stuck in our separate lives. Sure, we expected mental cases, outlaws, and even sociopaths. We built institutions and wrote legal actions with them in mind.

But what about the less noticable dissenting citizens like my friend Daisy? Those who impart inexplicable and often confusing animosity to their kids? Do you think Obama was just a young adult transformed by radicals and an anti-American church? Absolutely not. He was primed for anti-country messages.

In black communities across the nation we've all been recipients (figuratively speaking) of a passing baton emblazoned with this message: There's them and there's us. I've watched that baton get passed around since a child. It doesn't have to begin in households, but it often does. It also goes from adult to child, sometimes, teacher to student, surely, friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor, parent to child, etc.

The peer pressure it yields is formidable and separating from the fray takes courage. Now that I've mustered a little of it along with some hindsight, I can say this out loud.

Life happens. I have felt pain, so have you. God did not put us here to spend all our days crying over how we were hurt. Nor did He give us this life so that we could dedicate it to forcing others to pay us back for any suffering. I thank God I was born to live my life at this time in America. However, a handbook would have been helpful (smile). I would have read carefully the section on "American Life Among Inconsolable Victims and Ignorant Bigots." Many of us are neither of these things, but we've lived like ping-pong balls in prolonged mental bounces between them. 

Black In The Time Of Obama

We're here to relate to each other and make a contribution in this world. Whether we relate and/or contribute is up to us. In the comments on my last post, a lot of you related to losing friends, some for reasons different than mine. A few of you discussed solid friendships which endure life changes. That's pretty awesome!

As I reflect on old friendships of mine which have faded and as I watch my (young adult) daughters move through their own social order, I see a disappointing pattern. (Maybe this discussion begins the handbook?) I hate to separate one group of Americans from another, but it's necessary to make my point. How strange it feels to me, to be black during the time of Obama! To be grouped with people who others assume are  generally angry and disgruntled. It's strange, knowing many of those assumptions are rooted in reality.

It's surreal to watch a sitting president seize on racial discord for his own personal gain. Obama has forced everyone's hand on race, especially Americans who are black. What sets the friendship shared by Daisy and I apart from most others is the baton which passed between us like a dirty little secret. It doesn't matter if I wanted it. It doesn't matters if my children wanted it. It doesn't matter if my (future) grandchildren will want it. Obama has seized the baton and thrown it down like a gauntlet. Us vs. them.

But the way I see it, the only us is America. If Obama wins, she loses. And I sincerely hope my fellow Americans will stand together in a few months to save her.

That's my truth and I'm sticking with it.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Obama Strikes Again: Childhood Friendship Meets An End


Funny how we don't see things coming in our future until we're in the middle of them. Death, yes. That's a given, even when it takes us by surprise. But what about the other endings or beginnings?

Like with life-long friendships. Who'da thunk it? That having Barack Hussein Obama run for president would become, in my life, the slow, quiet death of my 32 year friendship. I didn't see THAT coming!

Now when I think about my childhood friend, Daisy, I can at last accept how different we'd always been. From age 10, on the outside we looked the same: each of us a childhood home, a set of parents, a set of siblings, rasised under similar love, discipline, and values. But on the inside .... ? We were different.

Yet, she was so beautiful, I thought, giving her up was never an option. And so smart! In seventh grade, I marveled at how Daisy's brain seemed to grab hold of facts and figures, while I seemed to always struggle at making things stick in my noggin. We were both mischeivous, giggling at private jokes with no end, creating clubs noone else could join, donning the girlscout uniform only to ditch meetings, disappear into new neighborhoods and explore. Yet, her good grades held steady. My girl hero.

Add to that, all her boy fans. Whereever we went she was ogled and called to. I wanted to be like Daisy. She wanted to be like me? (so she said) We each thought the other's life was better.

In later life our differences started to dog us. What used to be little annoyances had become our glaring traits. So what! I told myself through the years. Family members are different and those relationships endure.

I would hold on to Daisy for life! I would love her now matter what! And even when our paths took us to different places - bad marriages, birth of children, death of loved ones, better marriages - we have both held on to our friendship. Until now ....

Who'da thunk it? Of all the crap that might have ended us, we never thought it would be politics. Daisy never even cared enough to vote! She pu-shawed and chuckled at me indulgently through all the presidential elections. But then, along came a man selling snake-oil.

Huh. By the time I realized something major was happening to our friendship, it was already at its end. Like in a marriage where one spouse has mentally checked out years sooner, Daisy was gone before she asked me for a divorce. Not specifically asked, but she hinted. During an annual birthday call recently, one of us got mean and spiteful, and that was the end. Stupid, catty girl-speak that sounded like it was about aging and weight-gain, when it was really a political cat-fight.

Daisy has never liked white people. There. I said it. And you know what? I still say, So what! Who among us hasn't a family member or  friend self-tainted with a little bigotry. Even in our own selves. We're humans! We don't have to love or even like everybody!

Ah, but when we visit our preferences on others, that can become awkward. I guess in my naivete I never saw an end for Daisy and I. The black/white issue has bitten again. This is American life and it will happen again and again.

(To be continued ....)

That's my truth and I'm sticking with it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! :)

 
 
A few things I learned from my father:
 
1. Play board games with the family.
2. Eat out at restaurants with the family.
3. Attend the rare and occasional stage show with the family.
4. Go to amusement parks with the family.
5. How to lay fancy shaped ceramic tiles.
6. How to frame and build walls in an unfinished basement.
7. How to mix cement and lay bricks.
 
Thanks, sir. Somewhere along the way, I stopped focusing on every thing you did wrong. I am now thankful for the things you did right.
 
Happy Father's Day to all you awesome men! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cell Phone Etiquette For MORONS

Rant- 1. I am not a nice girl. I only play nice because of social dictates and pesky laws. 2. The older I get the more I feel like I am forced to behave as if I am everyone's mother. Apparently nobody wants to be "yelled" at for their rampant idiocy. 3. Now I can't sleep (note time of post) because even in the privacy of my bedroom idiocy can creep in like ants searching for sugar.
 
Grrr!
 
I just got a cell phone text which basically said, Sorry I didn't call you earlier, I was busy. WTF?!!
 
I'm sleeping! I have to go to work in a few hours! The ONLY reason I grabbed the phone and is because I thought there was an emergency.
 
Getting back to number one. In the not so deep, but sweetly dark recesses of my mind, I am a ninja trudging through masses of morons (or zombies, whatever) and I'm chopping heads. These fantasies keep me civil cuz I don't know when it happened, but one day, I looked around the world and found myself out-numbered by idiots.
 
This brings me to number two. Since I can't taser them or neck-punch them or even strike them in their knees with something blunt and heavy, without incurring legal consequences to myself, I have to pretend they're normal. This means I have to use my inside voice and try not sound like I'm speaking to a tired toddler, otherwise I might be viewed as hostile. FML!
 
Now my sleep is broken, so here I am.
 
I doubt that the zombies are reading this, but just in case. Use your cellphone responsibly you flippin fools! They are not toys for messaging your random thought farts.
 
Good night.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Flag Day! from a public school kid .....



So because it's Flag Day I find myself reflecting on my public school days, K through 12. Why? Umm... because beyond third or fourth grade "art-time" I don't remember ANY intentional reference by my teachers to the American Flag, other than seeing it stand quietly at the back of my classrooms. Now there may be some eye-rolls on this, but my American Flag appreciation wasn't born until the days which immediately followed September 11, 2001, a time in which I felt llike a sucker-punched New Yorker.

Hasn't blogging brought us all to this urgent and constant political sound-off or is it just me? Well here I am. And the American Flag is a beacon of light for our life and everything we believe in. Even if it took me 35 years to realize this.

I look at this blogging life as an opportunity for us to swap stories, ya know? Americans have walked in so many different kinds of shoes, taken numerous paths to stand where we're we're standing. Thank God for blogging, so we can record our own parts in history to say this is how we saw it. This was our part. We Americans were here.

As a public school kid, now I have to wonder what my teachers in those Brooklyn schools must have been thinking. For the record, I don't hate liberals. If you're a liberal and you're reading, I have found you troublesome because of your narrow thinking and pushiness, but hate is not my thing. (I do hate Megan, but she's a Mad Men character!)

Looking back on it, I think the American Flag stood as a reminder of the dilemma my liberal teachers faced in classrooms of mostly of black children. In a nutshell they juggled feelings of apologies, resentments, heroics, and even God-like delusions of grandeur. It's like emotionally stunted and unprepared adults having kids and turning those kids on the world. Oh yeah, good times.
We obviously do not live in a perfect world. And as it turns out, A

merica, has turned out pretty awesome despite her difficulties.

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. Bernard J. Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.
 
On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Know Thyself. IMHO, this Greek quote is important to us all, but especially to teachers. One should figure out who they are and where they stand before they decide teaching young minds is for them. America is our team. Our children need a steady diet of lessons on how to route for her.

Happy Flag Day everyone!

That's my truth and I'm sticking with it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Marriage Is For Suckers: Indoctrination and Mixed Messages


I don't know about you but I didn't get fully comfortable with who I am and what I believe in until I hit my forties.


Marriage. Absolutely, positively, hands down, I believe in Marriage. Marriage exemplifies abilities of compromise and respect. Marriage makes our children better.

Strange as it sounds, I have never felt comfortable saying that out loud before. I haven't wanted to "offend" the unmarried people. Besides, my affinity for marriage often placed me in society's minority.

There are a few things people refuse to talk about in our culture. This society's growing anti-marriage sentiments are among the taboo topics. What if you are growing up in a demographic where most of your peers live in single-parent households and you do not? What if you enter adulthood and you see marriage in your future despite statistics which say otherwise? What if your demographic is replete with celebrations about pregnancies and birth, but few weddings?

How does it feel? To me, it has always felt wrong.

Indoctrination

Indoctrination of our youth in public schools has been one of the hot button topics among conservatives in recent years. And rightly so. Public schools are famous for pushing their liberal agenda on youth. Not with all of my teachers, but a significant number of my school lessons were peppered with the hippie slant. And I balk when I remember the liberal professors who I hesitantly admired during my college days.

I say hesitantly because now I see can my unease, but I wasn't much of a boat-rocker back then. I remember one professor in particular who would hold court with us students on the campus lawns in between classes. Part of his mystique was his seemingly keen interest in and affinity for us as young adults. Before meeting him, the grown-up world and the youth world were two distinct and separate places. This professor offered a bridge between them. No surprise, it was also he who introduced "the man" to my freshman ears (a post for another day).

My peers nodded when he spoke, so I listened. I doubted though. I sensed something off about him, though I couldn't say what it was. Now, of course, I can see him clearly. He was misery seeking company. And when the subject of marriage came up, my gray-haired, bachelor professor made disparaging jokes.

Marriage Is For Suckers
  
That's the gist of the message I received throughout my youth. Marriage is not fun. However, the anti-marriage idea clashed with my core values. My parents were married over 30 years (though they divorced during my adulthood). My grandparents on both side were married more than 50 years until their separate deaths. My parents didn't hammer me with messages about getting married, but the seed of example planted itself.

Some romantic movies and television shows sent pro-marriage messages when I was a kid. Of course today, those messages are mixed with storylines of runaway brides, shotgun weddings, same-sex couples, polygamy, etc. I imagine it's just as confusing for today's youth as it was for my peers and I.

As for my demographic, I'd say two-thirds of my life has been spent living in an urban setting. Single people have usually out-number married people in the larger cities. Also, I grew up during a period - 1970s to 1990s - of increasing divorce rates, sexual revolutions and declining attitudes toward marriage.

I have been on the outside of our culture looking in. Even after my first marriage failed after just two years, I held on to my belief in marriage. I watched with dismay how divorce affected my kids. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying single people should stalk potentials until they're hog-tied for marriage. I just think we should take a mental stand in support of marriage.



Proud To Be Happily Married

It's not unlike our belief in driving. I don't walk around miming hands on a steering wheel and sputtering, vroom-vroom all day. But when the occasion arises, my desire and capability can be counted on to drive a car. I was divorced, single for eleven years and willing to accept a life of single-ness until death before I met my present husband. I never lost my reverence for marriage.

All around me the atttitudes toward marriage - when I was single and even now as a married person - has been negative. Hopefully talking about it can affect a change in social attitude. Even if the change is just a matter of proudly displaying your married contentment. Being happily married to my BFF hubby these last 8 years happens to be one of my proudest achievements.

That's my truth and I'm sticking with it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Randomly Speaking.... Hello!



Hi everybody! I'm sorry I haven't been blogging. It's just the usual stuff of life that sometimes keeps us all away. Throw in a little writer's block and the blog can get dusty. So if you don't mind, I'm gonna take it kind of slow.

First, congratulations to Wisconson Governor Scott Walker! Hey media, how's that crow tasting? Yum!

Moving right along...

Did I ever tell you how immature I am? Oh boy, yes! On the outside I look all grownup, but on the inside, I'm all girl. Heh. In previous careers, during work meetings, I've tended to pass the time with fantasies.

Since the 2008 election of Barack Obama, my political leanings have chrystallized. And when I think about all the individuals who, in fantasies over the years, I was slapping, tripping or egging, I see just how wing-nutty I've always been. Yup, the human irritants who've starred in my fantasies as objects of my shenanigans are often left-leaning. But in my defense, most of the liberals I know are out-spoken, irrational and obnoxious. I can cite examples, but I'll save it for another post because I'm sure this topic will come up again.

Speaking of crazy liberals. I recently finished reading Under the Dome by Stephen King. Any Stephen King fans out there? Like him or not, the man is really a great storyteller. Since he has tended to stick to supernatural and science fiction themes in his stories, I never really noticed his politics. Until now.

An aside...

Let me say this to the extreme political pundits (who look with disdain at any news or art that isn't political) and the a-political types (who adamantly refuse to pay attention to news which isn't forcibly mainstreamed in), every single happening in our country is interlocked, IMHO. Living our lives as if this isn't a truth, is akin to arms ignoring fingers or thighs ignoring shins.

In that vein, my thoughts today are about Stephen. Since reading Under the Dome, I've concluded the man is a liberal loon. In novels, it is a useful tact for an author to draw on current events. But most writers know their audience includes all kinds of citizens, leaning right, left and in between. If the book isn't meant to fall into the political genre, we readers expect writers to tread a careful balance and simply entertain.

Stephen left the ranch, basically telling republicans and conservatives to piss off. This book of his is peppered with pro-Obama, anti-republican and anti-Christian rhetoric. I got his message, loud and clear. He's a wealthy liberal with a big ego and he wants us to know, he's not gonna take our conservative crap anymore!

What could possibly be the connection to Stephen and his books in our lives?

Here's what I learned. Stephen King's writing path is a cautionary tale. He reminds me, once again what too much money and power can do to an ordinary man. I know that when it comes to writing, everyone can't be pleased all of the time. However, King's 1,071 page book said, in a nutshell, editors and any number of his fans can suck it.

He's obviously been broiling with anger against the right for years and feels now's the time (Under the Dome, published in 2009) to take it to the world with mouth-froth. I personally think the man has come undone.

That's my truth and I'm sticking with it.